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Re: assistive tech and layout tables

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 07:26:15 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200202210726.g1L7QFp01466@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> can be "directed" by HTML (or something else) to read specific cells in a
> layout table in a particular order, rather than linearly. (I think I know
> the answer to this, i.e. "no," but I'd like to make sure I'm not overlooking
> something.)

I'm more or less certain the answer is no.  However, in theory visual
user agents can be instructed to draw them in a different order, so
one linearises the HTML and shuffles in the CSS.  Unfortunately there
is patchy and broken support for this!

The other thing one can do is to use rowspan and nested tables 
creatively (subject to any use of tables being a short term measure
to get round the flakey CSS positioning support).  E.g., for 
rowspan, you have a thin first row, with the second column spanned
and containing the body text, but the top left cell empty and put
the left side bar in the first, non-spanned, column in the second row.

Incidentally, it seems (not surprisingly) that Visual Studio .NET make
extensive use of CSS absolute positioning and does so in pixels, with the
result that the average programmer, who has no accessibility brief, 
produces almost random linear reading orders and pages that won't tolerate
font size, or even face, changes (or even I suspect high resolution displays
with graphics software that maintains true point sizes).   It fails to
detect Web-TV as CSS incapable and produces something like abstract
art on it!

> On a potentially related note, what do people think about providing
> *several* 'skip navigation' links on a page, e.g. one for 'main content,'

Just to add to what has already been said, most of the W3C pages and
documents already have tables of content.  The problem tends to be that
designers don't think they are designing an essentially linear document,
so see tables of contents as just wasting screen real estate.
Received on Thursday, 21 February 2002 02:53:55 UTC

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